Major ports in the Shenzhen region of China have seen blank sailings increase by 300% in a month due to the congestion at the Port of Yantian and warned of significant chaos across the global logistics chain.
According to new data from supply chain specialists project44, 298 vessels with a combined capacity of over three million TEU have bypassed the Port.
Josh Brazil, Vice President of Marketing, project44, said the congestion has the potential to create “massive headaches across the global economy” and warned shippers to ensure they have full visibility of their supply chain.
The blank sailings raise the threat of a “severe backlog” and “major delays and disruptions in global supply chains”, adding to the lingering effects of the Suez Canal obstruction in March 2021, the company said.
The congestion has been caused by an outbreak of COVID-19 at the Port, which local Chinese authorities have sought to contain by through local social distancing and lockdown measures; these have caused shortages in labour across the Port’s operations.
Even in the best-case scenario, according to project44, it could take several weeks to process backlogged containers and shippers will continue to see serious delays.
Further data from project44 shows that the seven-day average of median dwell times on export containers from the Port has doubled over the past two weeks, reaching 23.06 days on 15 June 2021.
The mean dwell times on import containers into Yantian were lower, at 5.96 days for the same period, suggesting that carriers are avoiding the Port.
“In the event that Chinese authorities extend their strict containment measures, high double-digit daily blank sailing rates could extend into July, snarling supply chains that use this critical global port well into the Summer,” project44 said in a statement.
Brazil continued, “While the epicenter of this particular breakdown is Yantian International Container Terminal (YICT), these numbers spell trouble across the maritime shipping world, and particularly for companies that rely on these routes.
“Even shipments not directly impacted by the Yantian situation could feel the impact, as carriers adjust their networks to avoid congestion at YICT.”